A SET OF THIRTY-TWO GOLD AND SILVER SHEET ORNAMENTS, PINGTUO
A SET OF THIRTY-TWO GOLD AND SILVER SHEET ORNAMENTS, PINGTUO
A SET OF THIRTY-TWO GOLD AND SILVER SHEET ORNAMENTS, PINGTUO
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A SET OF THIRTY-TWO GOLD AND SILVER SHEET ORNAMENTS, PINGTUO
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A SET OF THIRTY-TWO GOLD AND SILVER SHEET ORNAMENTS, PINGTUO

TANG DYNASTY (AD 618-907)

Details
A SET OF THIRTY-TWO GOLD AND SILVER SHEET ORNAMENTS, PINGTUO
TANG DYNASTY (AD 618-907)
The ornaments are all cut from thin gold or silver sheets depicting various animals and birds, such as phoenixes and other birds in flight, qilin, lions or gazelles. Each ornament has finely engraved details.
The largest ornament 1 5/8 in. (4.3 cm.) wide, mounted in three frames
Provenance
Dr. Johan Carl Kempe (1884-1967) Collection, Sweden, before 1953, nos. CK43 and CK123.
Sotheby's London, Masterpieces of Chinese Precious Metalwork. Early Gold and Silver, 14 May 2008, lot 70.
Literature
Bo Gyllensvärd, Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, Stockholm, 1953, cat. nos. 43 and 123.
Bo Gyllensvärd, 'T'ang Gold and Silver', Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, No. 29, Stockholm, 1957, figs. 57d, 62r and 70o.
The silver ornaments: Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, The Museum of Art and Far Eastern Antiquities in Ulricehamn, Ulricehamn, 1999, pls. 41 and 126.
Exhibited
Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution, Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, 1954-55, cat. nos. 43 and 123.
New York, Asia House Gallery, Chinese Gold, Silver and Porcelain. The Kempe Collection, 1971, cat. no. 18 (nine birds), an exhibition touring the United States and shown also at nine other museums.

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Lot Essay

These gold and silver sheet bird and animal-ornaments would have been made as pingtuo inlay for the lacquered backs of bronze mirrors of Tang-dynasty date. Mirrors of this type reflected the splendor and sumptuous taste of the Tang court, and also found their way to Japan, perhaps as diplomatic gifts. An eight-lobed mirror of this type in the Shoso-in is illustrated by Ryochi Hayashi, The Silk Road and the Shoso-in, New York/Tokyo, 1975, p. 129, fig. 142. Others include the circular example inlaid in silver with a pheonix and a peacock, as well as other birds in flight, illustrated in Ancient Bronze Mirrors from the Shanghai Museum, Beijing, 2005, pl. 84, and another of square quadrilobed shape in silver with four phoenixes, pl. 83. An octalobed mirror of this type is illustrated in Zhongguo meishu quanji, vol. 8, Arts and Crafts - Lacquerware, Beijing, 1989, p. 80, no. 78. A fine rounded square example inlaid in gold and silver with four phoenixes is illustrated by Suzanne E. Cahill, The Lloyd Cotsen Study Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors, vol. II, Studies, p. 162, fig. 1. See, also, the two gold and silver pingtuo-inlaid lacquered bronze mirrors from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections sold at Christie's New York, 18 March 2009, lot 240 and 14 September 2009, lot 34. A pair of gilded silver, phoenix-form cut-outs from the Falk Collection sold at Christie's New York, 16 October 2001, lot 189.

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